Harvard Business School Interview? The Most Important Tip

Successful MBA application essay

3 Application Mistakes To Avoid

Tailoring your MBA application to specific B-schools is critical.

“This means going the extra mile to prove you understand a school’s unique culture and values, and that you’ve given considered thought both to how you’ll contribute to their community what you hope to gain from it,” Amy Hugo, Fortuna Expert Coach and former manager of admissions and recruitment at London Business School, writes.

When it comes to your MBA application, the more unique it is the better. US News recently spoke to experts who offered tips on how to avoid sending a generic application and how to avoid common mistakes.


Attention to detail is an important skill that business schools look for in applicants. If you have typos or mistakes in your application, it’s unlikely that a business school will take you seriously.

“The biggest mistake we see here with applications is students who do not proofread their essay submission well enough,” Mike Minutoli, former director of graduate programs for Adelphi University’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business in New York, tells US News. “Every cycle, I receive at least one essay that was written for another university where the applicant has professed their ‘strong attention to detail.'”


Admissions officers seek out applicants who can demonstrate a strong case for why they want to attend their school in particular. Experts say it’s critical to do proper research on each B-school and tailor your essays accordingly.

“Go beyond what’s offered on the website and probe for the heart of their differentiators and values,” Hugo, of Fortuna, writes. “This level of awareness and detail can and should come across in your application. Cite specifics that are relevant to your career vision and goals – specializations, electives, clubs and the myriad of opportunities that will be available to you. As there are many different elements you can speak to for every school, ensure you choose ones that are genuinely connected to your future, and to what you personally hope to gain from the experience.”

The worst thing you can do is to submit a generic application that isn’t tailored to a specific MBA program.

“We know that application forms can be lengthy, but every section is there for a reason,” Crystal Grant, a former MBA admissions officer who now works in corporate graduate recruitment, tells US News. “If you copy and paste your answers between schools, you’re missing a great opportunity to demonstrate how you fit with the culture and values of each institution.”


Each component of your MBA application—from your resume and essay to your recommendation letters—should stand add flavor to your entire application. Too much repetition of information can result in a weak, generic application.

“Your application pieces can complement each other,” Deena Maerowitz, a principal with the Bertram Group admissions consulting firm and a former associate director of admissions with Columbia Business School, tells US News. “But you don’t want to repeat everything because that’s a waste of the admission officer’s time.”

Sources: US News, Fortuna Admissions

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